Preparing for the Twenty-First century: India and China.
The population explosion of China and India is in general what is holding each country back from becoming competitive powers in the developing world. With India's population at more than one billion and China's population at 853 million, the global effect on security, food, energy, and the environment will be immense. Both countries have tried to persuade couples to limit family size. However, the Indian government has not been as successful as China. The Indian government has had greater difficulty reaching into villages to try and force peasants to limit the number of children they can bear. India has greater localized poverty, illiteracy, and child mortality. Therefore, the desire to have children in order to enhance family income remains strong. Forced sterilization, mistrust of government, dangerous and inefficient contraceptive devices have caused a powerful public reaction against limiting family size. Even if adequate birth control were available the response to limit family size would probably still be negative because of the cultural and religious diversity that exists in India-something China has not had problems with. China has had some success in being able to control their population explosion. The rise in living standards during the first decade of communism produced a surge in China's population. " The Great Leap Forward" disrupted the economy, reduced food production and distribution, and caused widespread famine. (166) The reaction of the Chinese people was to have lots of children. This population boom gave way to some of the strictest family planning rules imposed on the people of China. Couples were to marry in their late twenties and only have one child. Those who did not follow these rules were subject to fines, loss of jobs, social and educational privileges, and forced into late term abortions. Today some of the rules of population growth have been loosened, but the consequences remain the same.